Coronavirus news: Shoppers in New Jersey hit stores to prepare for spread of COVID-19

LYNDHURST, New Jersey (WABC) -- As the number of cases of the latest strain of coronavirus climb across the globe, Americans are swarming stores to stock up on basic goods.

Consumers are not taking their chances and the rush for supplies is on around the country and at home in the tri-state area.

Jennifer Wertalik set out searching for hand sanitizer. She found her supply at Levy's Pharmacy in New Jersey, where pharmacists answered at least 80 calls about COVID-19.

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"It does spread fast, but without it actually being here, as of right now it's not an immediate threat, but definitely something to prepare for," said pharmacist John Ferrentino.

Levy's has surgical masks on back order, and they are now starting to look at adjusting their orders of hand sanitizer to keep up with the growing demand.

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Experts agree that hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of viral and bacterial infections.

Stocking up on preventive supplies will likely kick up even more as more cases are reported.

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"Without the virus actually being in the immediate area, taking precautions for everyday life, you can come into contact with the influenza virus, which could be on contaminated surfaces," Ferrentino said.

Pharmacists say surgical masks should be used primarily for those who are showing symptoms of an upper-respiratory illness.

RELATED INFORMATION:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

New York City information about coronavirus

John Hopkins' coronavirus tracking dashboard
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